Convicted of horse-stealing, Flint receives from Chris 20 lashes followed by banishment from the train. The lashes on his back then serve Flint as a "badge of dishonor" as he infiltrates a gang headed by a man known as Angel de Muerte.

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Sam Upton
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Madge Upton
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Sgt. Oakes
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Meurte
Stacy Keach Sr. ...
Maj. Hansen (as Stacy Keach)
Alex Montoya ...
Mexican Bandit
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Storyline

Flint and Charlie are bringing horses they had bought at Fort Henderson from Major Hansen back when they see a poster offering a $10,000 reward for Angel de Muerte (angel of death). Muerte has been a problem for everyone including the Army and wagon trains some of whom have been wiped out by him. Flint raising his arm sends a signal to a group of masked men who approach the pair and steal the horses. Before leaving the men the leader of the group hands Flint a package. The reluctant Charlie takes Flint as a prisoner to the wagon train where he tells Christopher Hale what happened. Flint admits to helping steal the horses so when Major Hansen arrives from Fort Henderson a trial is held in which Hale sentences Flint to 20 lashes with a bull whip and banishment from the wagon train. After Sgt. Oakes completes the sentence, Flint in deep pain rides off. Later, Bill, Chris and Major Hansen ride out for a secret meeting - with Flint. Bill learns the Major helped fake the robbery as Flint ... Written by Anonymous

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Western

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13 December 1961 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Bill Hawks: I don't have the stomach to lay a bullwhip to the back of a friend of mine, no matter what he's done.
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User Reviews

 
Flint McCullough -- bullwhipped and love-smitten
14 December 2006 | by (Minneapolis) – See all my reviews

Pretending to "go bad" in order to get the goods on the bad guys is an old plot device, and thus most viewers probably weren't fooled when Flint McCullough seemed to suddenly degenerate into a horse-thief. The subsequent flogging he suffers -- 20 lashes! -- then allows Flint to make contact with the notorious bandit Angel de Muerte who's been responsible for such crimes as attacking and slaughtering wagon trains. Along the way Flint meets Madge Upton (Jeanne Cooper) and her younger brother Sam (Nick Adams). Sam is the one who agrees to introduce him to the bandit.

This episode lingers in the memory for three reasons: (1) Nick Adams' rather over-the-top performance; (2) the almost-romantic relationship which grows up between Flint and Madge, (she tends to his bloody back); and (3) the 20 lashes which Flint receives across his bare back while tied to the side of a wagon. (The scene discreetly fades out after only eight lashes have been delivered.) Wouldn't 10 or 12 lashes have been enough to establish his criminal credentials? (Though occurring on TV, this flogging ranks 52nd in the book: "Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies.") Robert Horton plays Flint McCullough and thinking up ways in which he'd be required to take his shirt off seemed to be a popular activity among the "Wagon Train" writers. (Unlike other actors, Horton never shaved that hairy chest of his.) If, during these "beefcake" scenes, Horton could be put into bondage and tortured, so much the better. (And all this took place during the days when television was regarded as "family entertainment.") Jeanne Cooper (Corbin Bernsen's mother) gives a fine performance as Madge Upton and the bond which grows up between Madge and Flint seems genuine, even in its inevitably transitory nature.

Other episodes in which Horton gets to sweat, squirm, and suffer are (1) "The Gabe Carswell Story" in which he's staked-out spreadeagle style and (2) "The Ruth Marshall Story" in which he's suspended by his wrists.


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